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The Hard Part of Healing

Memorial of Saint Francis Xavier, Priest

First Reading: Isaiah 30:19-21, 23-26

Thus says the Lord GOD,
the Holy One of Israel:
O people of Zion, who dwell in Jerusalem,
no more will you weep;
He will be gracious to you when you cry out,
as soon as he hears he will answer you.
The Lord will give you the bread you need
and the water for which you thirst.
No longer will your Teacher hide himself,
but with your own eyes you shall see your Teacher,
While from behind, a voice shall sound in your ears:
“This is the way; walk in it,”
when you would turn to the right or to the left.

He will give rain for the seed
that you sow in the ground,
And the wheat that the soil produces
will be rich and abundant.
On that day your flock will be given pasture
and the lamb will graze in spacious meadows;
The oxen and the asses that till the ground
will eat silage tossed to them
with shovel and pitchfork.
Upon every high mountain and lofty hill
there will be streams of running water.
On the day of the great slaughter,
when the towers fall,
The light of the moon will be like that of the sun
and the light of the sun will be seven times greater
like the light of seven days.
On the day the LORD binds up the wounds of his people,
he will heal the bruises left by his blows.

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 147:1-2, 3-4, 5-6

R. (see Isaiah 30:18d) Blessed are all who wait for the Lord.
Praise the LORD, for he is good;
sing praise to our God, for he is gracious;
it is fitting to praise him.
The LORD rebuilds Jerusalem;
the dispersed of Israel he gathers.
R. Blessed are all who wait for the Lord.
He heals the brokenhearted
and binds up their wounds.
He tells the number of the stars;
he calls each by name.
R. Blessed are all who wait for the Lord.
Great is our LORD and mighty in power:
to his wisdom there is no limit.
The LORD sustains the lowly;
the wicked he casts to the ground.
R. Blessed are all who wait for the Lord.

Gospel: Matthew 9:35B-10:1, 5A, 6-8

Jesus went around to all the towns and villages,
teaching in their synagogues,
proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom,
and curing every disease and illness.
At the sight of the crowds, his heart was moved with pity for them
because they were troubled and abandoned,
like sheep without a shepherd.
Then he said to his disciples,
The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few;
so ask the master of the harvest
to send out laborers for his harvest.”

Then he summoned his Twelve disciples
and gave them authority over unclean spirits to drive them out
and to cure every disease and every illness.

Jesus sent out these Twelve after instructing them thus,
“Go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
As you go, make this proclamation: ‘The Kingdom of heaven is at hand.’
Cure the sick, raise the dead,
cleanse lepers, drive out demons.
Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give.”

NAB

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The obvious theme in today’s readings is healing. From Isaiah, we hear promises of the Messiah fulfilling every earthly need, drying every tear, and healing every fracture. In the Gospel, Jesus’ Heart is moved with pity (thank you, Saint Matthew, for this beautiful imagery) when He sees people coming to Him for healing. Then, He commissions His Apostles to turn around and do the same. God is all about healing our whole selves.

Yet, there is another factor in this equation, and that is the necessity of showing up.

Those being healed in the Scripture passages are showing up for God to do the healing. They are walking, they are sowing, they are singing, they are literally following Him like lost and abandoned sheep. They “wait for the Lord,” and that’s why they are blessed.

Sometimes I half-heartedly ask the Lord to bring healing to my own life or a personal situation. I do it because I know I should, but I don’t take the time to really ask. I just rattle something off. I don’t show up. I don’t plant or follow. I just stand still, not really believing that the healing will come, not willing to dig in with the Lord, and then I go on with my day.

These people wanted to be healed. They were willing to show up, to ask persistently, and to do the hard work.

Are we willing to do the same? Or will we be lazy in our pursuit of the Lord’s mercy?

Can we pray for each other on this? Maybe some of us aren’t ready for complete healing, so let’s do some heavy lifting for one another. Want to pray a Hail Mary with me for our sisters in Christ?

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with Thee. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

Olivia Spears is a middle school religion teacher turned SAHM who is married to her high school best friend. You can find out more about her here.

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